Microgreens are the powerhouse stage of plant growth after germination and before a plant reaches its full maturity. This microgreen stage, which occurs just as the first leaves unfurl, offers more nutrition than the full-grown plant. Because microgreens are very delicate, and many growing seasons are short, they are very expensive to buy in the store.
Many gardeners have started to cultivate microgreens of all varieties in order to enjoy the colorful, tasty, and healthy plants while going easy on their wallets. There are many tips to growing microgreens, from the best ways to store seeds to the best type of soil, but one of the often overlooked tips is the benefit of fans and air circulation in building strong microgreens.
Benefits of Air Flow
In a natural garden outdoors, the wind has an important role in growing plants, one which you may never have thought about before. Just as with light and soil, you need to mimic the outdoors when it comes to airflow in order to grow the healthiest plants. The benefits of air and circulation include the following:
- Wind offers plants resistance and helps them grow stronger. Without the natural wind, you need to replicate that airflow to create hardy stems.
- Ventilation creates transpiration. Transpiration cools plants and aids in getting water and minerals to the leaves for photosynthesis.
- Proper ventilation and airflow ensure the correct room humidity and temperature for your plants.
- Circulating fresh air stops mold, pests, and rotting in your microgreens.
Symptoms of Poor Ventilation and Air Flow
Without proper ventilation and circulation, your plants will show some telltale signs that they are suffering. Look for these signs as you garden:
- The growth of mold on your microgreens.
- Pests and other spider mites.
- Wilted microgreens.
- Microgreens with weak stems.
The Job of Ventilation
When you are growing microgreens indoors, you have absolute control over the ventilation and airflow, and although it takes some experimenting, you can find the best balance of air circulation and ventilation to set your plants up to be healthy and strong.
Controlling the Temperature
Fans are used to control the temperature so that your microgreens do not wilt in the heat. The sweet spot for growing microgreens is generally 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, though there are some variations depending on the type of microgreens you are growing. Microgreens are finicky about temperature, so providing a fan to cool the room is imperative.
Take note of the grow lights you are using as well. In addition to offering light, grow lights raise the temperature in the room. It will take some experimenting with your oscillating fans, your grow lights and the amount of time you use each, in order to get the equation right and create the perfect temperature for your microgreens.
Controlling the Humidity
Humidity causes plants to wilt and thwarts the transpiration system of microgreens. Although the best humidity varies for different types of microgreens, the commonly held standard humidity range for microgreens is 40-60 percent. Because transpiration creates moisture, controlling the humidity is necessary to avoid the growth of mold, which loves humidity. You can control the humidity in several ways.
- First, provide an oscillating fan to cool the room.
- You also need to provide an extraction fan (think of your bathroom vent for showering) that pulls the hot air and moisture out of the room.
- Add a dehumidifier to your microgreen area. Pulling the moisture out of the air that is a byproduct of plant transpiration is integral in growing healthy plants.
Managing Pests and Mold
With high humidity and temperature, you are creating a perfect environment for pests and mold to grow.
- Because they are so tiny in stature and so delicate, mold has a devastating effect on your microgreen crop. Stabilizing the temperature will ward off mold.
- Ventilation and air movement can thwart the ability of pests to lay their eggs, and keep your plants healthier.
Aiding the Photosynthesis Process
Your plants need carbon dioxide to survive and to perform photosynthesis. They take in carbon dioxide and use it to form chlorophyll to make their leaves turn green and healthy. But did you know that during the night, your plants undergo photosynthesis in reverse?
Having a fan and extractor fan to ensure adequate oxygen and carbon dioxide is imperative to your microgreens so they can fulfill all of their innate plant processes and be as healthy as possible.
Although you probably never thought that the wind outside made your plants stronger, there are many reasons why you need to replicate the air circulation and ventilation from outside in order to grow healthy microgreens. Proper airflow reduces pests and mold, builds hardier plants, and helps with natural processes like transpiration and photosynthesis. All of these factors add up to stronger and more healthful plants for you and your family.